RATING: PG-13 for Language
SEASON: StarGate Atlantis: Sometime during the 1st Season, before "The Eye"
MAJOR CHARACTERS: McKay, Sheppard, Ford and Teyla
DISCLAIMERS: The characters, cool stuff, etc, all belong to MGM, Gekko, the Sci-Fi Channel... not me. I own nothing. I got nothing. I found some lint in my pocket the other day -- that's all I got.
NOTE: Okay, here's my second SGA fiction. I'm still learning my way here. I'm trying to delve into StarGate technology and know nothing about it, so I apologize if I'm way off on some of the stuff I have going on here. I haven't seen enough StarGate SG1 to know how it all works.
SUMMARY: The team checks out an island paradise... and finds a non-functioning DHD, an active volcano and some particularly nasty fauna.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Tipper, as always, is to blame
SPOILERS: None that I can think of

PARADISE
By NotTasha

PART 1: ISLAND

As they stepped out onto planet PX9-778, John Sheppard was immediately struck by how … nice it was. A warm breeze blew past. Tall trees – resembling palms – swayed enticingly; a sweet aroma filled the air and the nearby ocean rolled. He let out a satisfied sigh and glanced to Ford. The Lieutenant was grinning, taking in the tropical paradise. Teyla, beside Ford, looked about with a content expression. John turned to his left to find McKay. He chuckled, seeing McKay a step or two behind him, hunched over one of his glowing devices, scowling as he fiddled with it.

"McKay," Sheppard called.

"Huh?" McKay didn't raise his head.

"What do you think?" Sheppard asked, raising his hands to the tropical splendor around them. As if on cue, a bird, as colorful as a child's painting, took wing and swooped past them.

McKay flinched, ducking away, as if the creature had dive-bombed them when it missed them by a good three meters. "Nice," he responded without sounding too convinced. "There's probably a dozen different ways to get killed here."

"Reminds me of Maui," Ford stated, ignoring the scientist's comment. "Or maybe Kauai." He shouldered his pack as he stepped past the sweet smelling foliage, smiling broadly. "This mission's going to be like a vacation. It's like paradise."

"Paradise? As in heaven?" McKay kept poking at his device. "Honestly, I'm not ready to go there just yet. I'm planning to stay far from it for as long as possible."

"Think they let in folks like you?" Sheppard asked, smiling as he gazed at the splendor around them. "Isn't Arrogance one of the deadly sins?"

"The first deadly sin is 'Pride', actually," McKay said with a sniff. "Not 'arrogance'."

"Yeah, big difference," Sheppard returned.

"And I can hardly see how taking pride in one's work could be considered a sin," McKay went on. "Really, is there any other way to respond to an intellect such as mine?"

John pursed his lips as he considered a response and then shook his head with a smile. "Think this is an island?" he asked.

"Yes, yes… definitely an island," McKay muttered, still futzing with his equipment. "About 35 square kilometers in size if my readouts are correct."

"How big is that?" Ford asked plainly.

McKay rolled his eyes expansively. "About 35 square kilometers," he repeated petulantly.

Sheppard grinned, and clarified, "About 13 and a half square miles.?"

McKay rolled his eyes.

Ford whistled. "Pretty big?" he tried.

"Not really," was McKay's response. He held out another device. "I see no sign of any structures built nearby. No power sources at least. I'm picking up a tremendous heat source though, from over there," he said, pointing to the rise that hid the rest of the island from them.

"Are there any signs of life, Doctor McKay?" Teyla asked.

"Plenty," McKay responded.

"Anything human?" Sheppard tried. He received a disgusted look from McKay in return.

"Have you seen one of these devices before?" McKay asked. He held up the Life Sign Detector so that the others could see the read-out. "There's no magic icons on it that tell me what is what, this isn't the Marauders' Map where everyone is labeled. I have blips… I have dots… I see life-forms. There's no tags on it that tells me what is a bird, a mole, a vole, a badger, a bear or a blue-butt nincompoop."

"Well," Sheppard started, letting McKay's comment hang, "Shall we explore a bit then? Check out that heat source maybe?"

"After you," McKay said with a gesture, letting the major lead the way.

Sheppard gave Rodney a smug look then turned to the lush hillside. "What do you think this place was used for?" he asked as he strode up the steep terrain. "Doesn't seem a likely spot to start a colony."

"Perhaps this location was used for scientific study," McKay commented as he struggled behind the others, having to shove his devices into his pack so he could use his hands to climb.

"Bet it's a vacation spot," Ford decided. "I mean, even the Ancients would want a place to chill, don't you think?"

"It is lovely," Teyla agreed. "And rather restful, I believe."

"Yeah, I can see that," Sheppard responded. "Club Med for the Ancients where they could get away from the stress of their day-to-day lives. Everything a highly evolved species could want – long, white-sand beaches, a place to surf, garden surroundings, peace and tranquility for everyone. A world full of… crap."

The major came to a standstill as Teyla and Ford caught up to him at the top of the rise. McKay still struggled behind. "What?" he asked, then caught a whiff of the wind. "Oh, that's not nice." Panting from his exertion, he came to stand beside the others. "Oh," he said, taking in the sight.

In the midst of the little paradise, a caldron steamed. The volcano stood, like a dirty thumb, pointing at the sky as it spat puffs of black into the air.

"Volcano," Sheppard stated. "That's your heat source?"

"Apparently," McKay responded, then amended with, "Definitely." He continued to poke as he stated, "It's quite possible that this is the reason we have a StarGate at this site. The Ancients may have had some interest in volcanoes – their evolution, etc." He glanced about and shrugged. "I can't think that this particular one has been active all this time though. One would expect more… damage to the surrounding area… or at least a bigger island. Then there's the fact that this StarGate has been here for over 10,000 years without being damaged. Amazing when you think about it, what with the island still forming." McKay continued to chatter away, leaving no room for anyone to butt in. "My only speculation is that the volcano lay dormant for several millennia and only recently has reawaken."

"Well," Sheppard stated. "I don't care what the Ancients wanted here. We came here to scout out some food and, now that I've seen the place, maybe we'll build a cabana and a beach-side bar." A glance to a nearby tree, and he stated, "Looks like there's plenty of food. Let's get what we can find for samples and head back."

"What about the life-forms?" Ford asked, pointing toward McKay's device.

"This island does seem to be rather untouched," Teyla commented. "We will probably find no humans here."

"Let's see what we can find," Sheppard stated.

They scouted out the area. Ford and Teyla took samples of the fruit that grew so plentifully. McKay mostly wandered about, looking for something more interesting. Sheppard kept a watch on his team, holding his P90 at his side in case trouble reared its unpleasant head.

But the day was mild and peaceful. The work was easy. Ford and Teyla made light of it, easily collecting an impressive array of samples. McKay wandered about, never straying far from the others, but doing a rather thorough search of the area. He came back with a handful of artifacts, handling them rather impassively. "There's signs of humans," he explained as he approached Sheppard. He held up a broken spear tip, a knife and some other utensils.

"Recent?" Sheppard asked.

McKay lifted a shoulder. "It's hard to tell with all the growth here, and with the humidity. I believe anything would decay rather quick. These things have probably been here for only a few years. Not much longer."

Sheppard took the knife and the spear from McKay, and examined them. McKay dropped the rest of his discoveries into his pack and brushed his hands on his trousers. "Think they're still around?" Sheppard asked. "…the people who dropped these? Think we should watch out for trouble?"

"Yes, of course I think we should watch out," Rodney answered. "I always think we should watch out for trouble. But no, I don't think they're still around. Like Teyla said, nobody's been here for a while. All in all, I think we're rather safe."

And then the ground shook.

TBC

A/N I suppose you saw that coming?